Rev. Kennedy joins the staff as our Interim Pastor. He recently retired from First Baptist of Dayton, OH, where he served for 13 years as Senior Pastor. He retired to Baton Rouge, LA, with his wife Johnelle.
Mark Grizzard serves as Music Director and Young Adults Leader. He directs the Chancel Choir and Youth Band, and he coordinates other ensembles including the guitar ensemble Higher Ground, Men’s Choir, and special-event music groups. He also leads the youth group and organizes small group activities for young adults. In addition to his work at the church, Mark is an adjunct School of Music faculty member at Illinois State University, and he has years of professional experience as a performer, composer, arranger, educator, and clinician. He lives in Peoria with his wife Leigh.
Dr. Joshua Russell plays the piano and organ for worship services and additional functions at First Baptist Church. He has performed throughout the world as a concert pianist, organist, and conductor and is recognized as a leading expert on the piano music of Haiti. He frequently appears as a soloist with orchestras across North America and is a sought-after speaker on topics related to music performance and teaching.
Leigh Grizzard is in her fifth year as Handbell Choir Director. In addition to directing the First Baptist Handbell Choir, Leigh is Director of Choirs at Pekin Community High School, where she conducts three curricular choirs as well as the Pekin Noteables show choir. A Music Education graduate from Valparaiso University, Leigh also directs the Youth Choir at Trinity Lutheran Church in Peoria and is active in many area musical opportunities, such as singing in the annual Peoria Bach Festival and performing as a soloist with the Peoria Municipal Band. She lives in Peoria with her husband Mark.
Judy Tellier joined the staff of First Baptist Church in 2000 as the Financial Secretary. She has served as the Administrative Assistant since 2002. Judy manages the office, assists pastoral staff and coordinates events and projects with the various boards and committees. Judy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University. A native New Yorker, Judy now lives in Peoria with her husband, Jay, and their two dogs.
Sandy Johansen joined the staff at First Baptist on April 2009. She brings 30-plus years of administrative experience to the role of Church Secretary. Some of her duties include greeting and assisting visitors and callers, producing the weekly church newsletter and worship bulletins, and preparing the slides for Sunday worship service. She lives in Medina township with her husband of 17 years, Jeff Johansen.
Lorey Schlehuber joined the staff at First Baptist Church as the Financial Secretary in November 2004. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Bradley University. Some of her duties include tracking contribution giving and preparing financial reports for church board committees. Outside of her part-time position at First Baptist, she owns and operates a family-based business that her father founded over 35 years ago. She lives in Morton with her husband, Michael and two children, Christian and Clair.